Wednesday, August 17, 2011

August 17: one stinker, lots of trivia, excellent editorial page...

Page A8 has a story shaded in yellow, for some reason. I'm sure it can't be the reason I''m thinking of.
It's about Finance Minister Higgs telling us New Brunswick's financial situation is unsustainable. Quite possible so. The stinker part is it talks only of cutting things like education and social services and some public service jobs.

There's not a single mention of cutting tax breaks, subsidies, grants, sweetheart contracts, loans, land giveaways for the super-rich.

For openers, Mr. Higgs should have given us figures (and any reporter worth his salt should have asked) on how much money the Irvings, the McCains and friends get out of New Brunswick every year. The real figures. What's the cash value of their reduced electricity rates? Forestry grants? sibsidies? How much tax do they actually pay?

How can we possibly examine the state of our economy without knowing the role of the biggest players? The Moncton Times would have (and has shown) no reluctance to publish such information about public service employees and teachers and others. So give us the same sort of figures in neat rows, just as was done for municipal employees recently.

For a start, the reporter might have asked Mr. Higgs exactly what  his salary is, what his perqs and pension are, and what he pays in income tax.

But it's so much easier to blame to the poor and the children. Yep. They is jes' suckin' us dry. Go back to the deep hills, Mr. Higgs.

Charging the wealthy full price for energy would do a lot to balance the books. Bringing their tax rates into line would be useful. Putting an end to giving them gifts would help. But, no. Mr. Higgs will surely find it more convenient to blame the poor, the elderly and children.

Again, there is still no information on fracking for shale gas, despite easily available stories of serious problems in New York and from reputable scientists.

So that's the lying part part of the news. The rest is  trivia.

NewsToday features a non-story about Canadian foreign policy. (Postmedia News, of course.) There's the usual story on Libya. It still doesn't tell us why we have sent aircraft to kill Libyans. It also omits reports from international agencies of murder, rape and looting by rebel forces.

But- Wow! the editorial page was good.

The editorial dealt with the return to Royal in the naming of our military. I haven't decided whether I agree with the writer;. But this is a reasonable, balanced, and well-written editorial - the furst such I  have ever seen in the T&T.  The cartoon is good, and shows some welcome independence on the part of the artist.

Norbert Cunningham has a quite readable piece on literacy - though he still sees New Brunswick as a literacy horror story compared to the rest of Canada. I really think he should ckeck out the figures for places like, say, Montreal and Toronto. I have to admit, though, that I had to come to Moncton to see an ad "For sale: Truck with wench."  (It was in a large, pictorial ad in section A.

There is a block-buster column by Alec Bruce which blows away muddle-headed and greedy ideas about economics - such as those voiced by Finance Minister Higgs and the T&T's preferred expert, Professor Savoie (Order of New Brunswick.)

The paper has all its usual faults. But this editorial page would have done any paper proud.

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